The moment you tell people that you love to cook–that cooking is your passion, your life, your favorite thing in the whole world to do–they usually ask one question: so what are you making for dinner tonight?
But around this time of year, the question changes to: what are you making for Thanksgiving? Or, what are you making for Christmas? I wish I could reply with something fancy and extravagant, some out-of-the-box-and-exotic concoction of flavors and recipes from the nation’s top celebrity chefs. Sometimes I wish I could jerk a tear or two from them and say that I’m paying a tribute to my late grandmother this year by making a collection of her classic recipes for my holiday feast. Wouldn’t that be something special?
Truth is, I’m not doing either of those things this year (nor have I done them in years past). While a meal of a million courses featuring the recipes of Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentis, or other Iron Chef Hall-of-Famers would certainly impress even the toughest food critics, and while a table laden with classic dishes made from recipes scrawled in my grandmother’s own handwriting would be something memorable and idyllic, this year I’m going a different route.
This year, with just three people expected at my dining room table on Turkey Day (that’s including myself), I’m scaling it back and doing something simple. Back in October when I started planning out my Thanksgiving menu and pouring over the latest holiday magazines, I couldn’t decide what to do. Big, small, fancy, simple, ethnic, American, gourmet, quick…there’s just so many choices! But in the end, despite hours of surfing the web for recipes and flipping through cookbooks, I’ve decided to meld a few tasty looking recipes together and call it good. Why stress about it when it will be over before I know it and Christmas will be following closely on Thanksgiving’s heels? Thanksgiving is, after all, a time for giving thanks–not spending days in the kitchen laboring over a meal that will be devoured in minutes! (I’ll admit, though, that that can be an awful lot of fun, too, when you have the time.)
So, what’s on the menu? Here’s a sneak peek:
- Herb Roasted Turkey Breast (my own recipe)
- Classic Cranberry-Orange Sauce (again, my recipe)
- Apple, Celery, and Leek Stuffing (a mish-mash of recipes from Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, and my mom)
- Garlicky Greens (from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks)
- Easy Pumpkin Pie with Press-In Shorbread Crust (from Martha Stewart)
So there you have it. Simple and easy. No fluff, no frills. Just good old fashioned cooking. And you know what? Sometimes that’s just what we need in life. To take the pressure off of ourselves, lay aside extravagance, and just embrace the pleasure of enjoying the simple things in life.
This Thanksgiving, I won’t be breaking a sweat in the kitchen or running around to gourmet markets at the last minute picking up that special spice or those perfect pecans. Nope. Instead, I’ll be nestled in the warmth of my home surrounded by the people I love and giving thanks for the love that they give me back.
(This post is linked to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.)